In May, Public Policy Polling released a poll that showed marijuana legalization winning in Alaska 48% to 45%. I remember at the time thinking that the results must have been a bit off, because surely there was more support for the marijuana legalization initiative in Alaska. However, a poll was recently released by Public Policy Polling that found support is even lower, and that the initiative is actually failing 44% to 49%. That’s very disappointing news, especially considering the national backing the initiative has received from the Marijuana Policy Project. There could be multiple reasons for the results of the poll. A couple of them are provided by Fire Dog Lake below:
Two things to bear in mind when looking at these results. The first is that Alaska is a relatively tough place to poll accurately because it is a geographically large and economically diverse state with a relatively small population.
The second is that this new PPP poll found support for legalization among young voters in Alaska to be surprisingly low. It found only 48 percent of voters 18-29 planned to support the initiative at this time. By comparison Gallup found nationally 67 percent of young people think marijuana should be legal and Pew Research polling put support among this age group at 70 percent. It is possible young people in Alaska are dramatically more conservative the young people as a whole on this issue, or maybe the difficulty polling this group in Alaska is skewing the results there somewhat.
Whatever the reason, I hope that efforts ramp up in Alaska to get the initiative passed. Oregon and Washington D.C. are ahead in the polls, and I’m hopeful that we see all three efforts win, in addition to medical marijuana in Florida. It would be a shame to see Alaska get approved for the ballot, yet not see victory on Election Day, which is what happened in California in 2010 and in Oregon in 2012.